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Pat Hurst’s long apprenticeship is over.
She was named the U.S. Solheim Cup captain by the LPGA on Thursday.
Hurst, 50, whose six LPGA titles include a major championship (1998 Nabisco Dinah Shore), will lead the Americans against the Europeans in the team event in Toledo, Ohio, next year.
A long-time friend and confidant to fellow Northern Californian Juli Inkster, Hurst enjoyed the best kind of training for the new job, serving as assistant captain in Inkster’s unprecedented three terms as the U.S. captain (2015, ’17 and ’19).
“For the last six months, I’ve been thinking that my time as an assistant Solheim Cup captain, some of the greatest experiences of my professional career, might have prepared me to be captain in 2021,” Hurst wrote in a first-person article on LPGA.com. “I loved being an assistant captain; loved what I’d learned and seen being around captain Juli Inkster and all those great players on the last three American Solheim Cup teams. I loved being out on the first tee in that amphitheater setting with sound so loud you could feel it. No cheers in women’s golf match the Solheim Cup. Nothing makes your hair stand up or causes tingles to run down your arms like the drama and intensity of those three days.”
Hurst was there helping Inkster when the Americans staged the greatest comeback in the history of the competition in 2015, overcoming a 10-6 deficit going into Sunday singles to win in Germany. She was there in ’17, when the Americans routed the Europeans in Iowa and again last fall, when the Euros clipped the U.S. in the most dramatic finish in the history of the event, with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen winning it with a walk-off putt for the ages.
“Deep down, I hoped for that same opportunity, a chance to take what I’d learned from Juli and put my personal touch on it,” Hurst said.
No stranger to the event as a player, Hurst competed in five Solheim Cups, helping the Americans win four of them. She was a formidable 10-7-3 in the matches, with a 3-1-1 record in singles.
Hurst knows something about coaching beyond the Solheim Cup. She’s an assistant coach at San Jose State, her alma mater. She led the Spartans to an NCAA team title as a player in 1989 while also winning the individual title. Her amateur achievements also include winning the 1986 U.S. Girls’ Junior and the ’90 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The next Solheim Cup is scheduled Sept. 4-6, 2021, at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew returns as the European captain after leading the Euros to victory in Scotland in September. The Americans lead the series with a 10-6 record.